The Merits of Yelling in the House

My husband hates yelling. Up until a few years ago, he would give me a look or chastise me whenever I chose TALKING LOUDLY from somewhere in the house over getting up and talking in person. I received a similar reaction when I’d get upset at the children (or him) and raise my voice.

Unfortunately for him, we moved to a two-story house six years ago. We did so when I was pregnant and exhausted. I therefore failed to see the benefit of climbing seventeen stairs to engage him face-to-face. I also left piles of socks, toys, and children at the top or bottom of said stairs to consolidate trips, so why not consolidate conversation as well?

I reverted back to calling to him from wherever I was (usually the couch), including times when I knew he could intervene much more quickly than I could in children’s fights (because getting off the couch is tricky).

But that baby grew up. He became six years older and I became 30 pounds lighter. I had few excuses to yell, even when the boys attempted fratricide. Coincidentally, talks and pointed looks from the husband increased when my volume also increased.

Fortunately for me, I’m now pregnant again and even more exhausted than before…

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Photo Credit: Stock Photography

©2019 Chelsea Owens

No Kids Allowed: The Death of the Family

What would the world be like without children? Quieter, I imagine. Less messy. Less chaotic. No rules about censoring swearing on the radio, maybe. Toy departments geared toward 20-somethings. An absence of miniature items, everywhere. An absence of parks and children’s museums.

In a world such as that, how would the odd, pregnant woman be treated? Stared at, I imagine. Whispered about. Talked about. Shunned. Insulted, perhaps? Watched closely when she tries to purchase clothing to fit her expanding size. A general doctor explaining how he rarely sees this sort of thing anymore -wouldn’t she prefer to abort?

And then, how would others react to marriage and families? Strangely, I imagine. With wariness or confusion. With raised eyebrows and intrusive questions about life choices. Without tax benefits. Without special Family Days, Kids Meals, or Half-Price Admissions.

You might think such scenarios to be far-fetched. Surely we will never reach the point of a world without children! Of course pregnant women will be accepted and supported! When will couples and their families be ostracized?!

I tell you: sooner than you think.

Over a decade ago, a good friend told me she lived in Germany as part of being in the Air Force. She said she received openly hostile looks for bringing her baby son to a restaurant, yet a woman with a dog was accepted.

When I’ve walked around, heaving my heavy stomach in a waddling fashion, I’ve gotten a judgmental vibe in the downtown areas. Where youth, vigor, liberal views and pro-choice abound in a college crowd; there is no love for pregnancy in the air. There are almost tangible questions of, “Why would you choose that?” amongst the stares.

And, outside of our state, we’ve experienced impatience, judgmental looks, and ignorance regarding our children. At a children’s museum on free children’s admission day nearly 8 years ago, a woman in the gift shop told her coworker she’d “shut that baby up” -in reference to our 2-year-old making interesting sounds in the echoing entryway.

I understand. I do.

I understand that some women do not want to birth children.

I understand that quite a few couples don’t want to raise children.

I understand that many people do not want to deal with children at all.

But, I know that an anti-family social norm is killing us. I know a world without children is not sustainable. I know we need pregnancy. I know we need marriage and families.

And, I know that we can’t just assume someone else will take care of that responsibility. We need, instead, a return to the social assumption that families are the norm. We need love and support for those trying to raise their offspring to not be sociopaths. We need acceptance, appreciation, approval, and attention.

We need families.

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If you’ve the time, here’s my week in review:

Sunday, September 29: “9 Halloween Movies for Kids (Adults, Too!),” in which I listed my favorite Halloween movies for kids and families.

Monday, September 30: Wrote a poem titled, “The Morning Menagerie.”

Tuesday, October 1: Shared a quote about families from Fathers in the Home.

Wednesday, October 2: Recommended saving money by buying in bulk.

Thursday, October 3: “Naptime Isn’t Just for Kids,” a snippet about how great naps are -for parents.

Friday, October 4: Wondered about people’s evening mealtimes in “How Do You Dinner?

Saturday, October 5: Shared Scary Mommy‘s tweet about hypocritical in-laws.

Sunday, October 6: That’s today!

 

Photo Credit: Tyler Nix

©2019 Chelsea Owens

How Do You Dinner?

Every evening of my life, I’ve needed to eat dinner. Breakfast and lunch came before that, of course, but dinner is a more serious matter.

That is because I am the dinner-bringer.

I am she who must plan, purchase for, prepare, set for, get children to eat, and clean up after- dinner. Sure, they help. They’re being housebroken. But all those dinner activities are part of my mental load as stay-at-home mother and reluctant housekeeper.

As I prepared the meal this evening, I began wondering if meal prep as I do it has gone the way of the traditional family. Am I odd in making food each evening? Am I unique in purchasing, preparing, and cooking dinner?

Why do I wonder these things?

Because, fair reader, I know that most families have both parents working. I know that working is exhausting and time-consuming. I know that dinner-making is also exhausting and time-consuming. I therefore assume that most families either eat out or pick up something quick.

Are my assumptions correct? Tell me, what do you do for dinner?

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Photo Credit: The Joy of Film

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Make Time for Yourself (A Parenting Myth)

“Make time for yourself” is my second-favorite parenting advice. It comes right after “Enjoy the moment and don’t stress about the little things like housework, etc.”

Hah.

The problem with making time is that I haven’t achieved that superpower yet. The problem is that, last time I checked, there are still 24 hours in each day. The problem is that I have to care for the physical and emotional needs of human beings and the house they live in during 56 of those 24 hours. I’m already over-booked.

This topic came up tonight in our couples conversation time -you know, another thing I need to make time for. My husband said I am accruing a deficit by working when the children are in bed. He suggested that time ought to be for winding down; working on things that make me happy.

I felt I had enough supporting argument in the unmade bed we sat upon, surrounded by the unsorted laundry, near the still-whispering children we’d sired. He did not.

Half an hour of discussion later and we were no closer to resolution.

So, what do you think? How expensive is a time-stopper on eBay anyway?

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Photo Credit: Roberto Nickson

©2019 Chelsea Owens

I Didn’t Want to Be a Mother

“Mom?”

“Mahm?”

“Mom mom mom mom mom mom…”

Fingers press beneath the door and bodies bash against the wall near it. A few seconds of proximity results in my four boys turning to their neighbors in frustration.

“Don’t shove!”

“Gerroff!”

“I didn’t; you did!”

They all seem surprised when their goal, Mom in the now-unlocked door, stands before their wrestling pile. Written over most of their faces is confusion. Why is her face red? Why does she look sad? Was Mom crying?

Their confusion is warranted. I live in a nice house, am able to be the stay-at-home parent, and have access to health care, good food, and kind neighbors. My family lives close enough to visit occasionally. I even finished reading a novel sometime this year.

As my husband also confusedly wonders, “Why is Mom sad?”

I’ll tell you: I didn’t want to be a mother.

I wanted to be an artist. I wanted to be an engineer. Heck, I wanted to be a fairy. My wants and desires and future goals changed as I grew, morphing as my interests and aptitude emerged; as my exposure to reality and opportunities increased.

Really, the only consistent life goal I had was to never do housework again.

-Which is depressing enough in itself that I am now the primary housekeeper around here.

But the real rub is what I wanted to do; to be. I did not want to only be a mother. Perhaps I didn’t expect to attract someone with my mediocre appearances. Perhaps I thought motherhood was only dishes and laundry. Perhaps I saw women tied to the occupation as somewhat brainless and clueless; those tied to real occupations were intelligent, impressive, talented, and noteworthy.

I mean, how many quotes from just mothers do we read in school? How many do we post as uplifting messages on walls or social media?

I wanted to make a difference. I wanted prestige. I wanted my daily tasks to be laudable ones, not unseen ones. I wanted I wante I want….

Why is Mom sad?

Because, years ago, a tiny infant began growing inside me. He came out, squawking and gasping and clawing at the world. In his first, completely helpless month I had to make a life-altering decision: live for me or live for him.

I chose to live for him. To live for my husband, who wanted more of them. To live for the more of them that came after.

I had to.

Because if I had chosen to live for myself, I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself.

So, Mom is sad. Mom is depressed. But, they have a mom. That’s what’s important, right?

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Sunday, September 15: “We Don’t Point Guns at People,” my brief discussion about the realities of boy children and our realistic rules.

Monday, September 16: Wrote a poem titled, “Happy Hour of Parenting.”

Tuesday, September 17: Shared a funny meme.

Wednesday, September 18: Plated a dinner tip involving butter.

Thursday, September 19: “This Space Reserved for Fetus,” a snippet concerning baby movement during pregnancy.

Friday, September 20: Shared Dude-Bro Dad‘s tweet about picky toddlers.

Saturday, September 21: Had no advice in “I Have No Advice.”

Sunday, September 22: That’s today!

 

Photo Credit: Zach Lucero

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens